Well, it's been another great Sunday...my favorite day of the week! Our life group tonight was wonderful and I'm starting to feel like part of the family. One thing was hard though...everyone was talking about things they had done this week with their grandchildren (we're the youngest by at least a few years), and it made me REALLY miss my kids and Lydia. At least I had brought my Bible and stuff in the new bag Shannon and Josh gave me for my birthday, so I got to share the picture of Lydia and me that's on the front...that was fun! Anyway, today I also went ahead and made the flight arrangements for my trip back to visit Illinois. I will arrive on Friday, September 28, in the afternoon and get to spend ten days visiting my family and friends back home. I'm looking forward to enjoying the fall season while I'm there since it will still be hot here, I think. We also are planning on both of us coming back over Christmas, so I've also got those dates to look forward to. I'm still not sure what I'm going to be doing "job wise", so I hope I can work around those dates. Oh well, it's in God's Hands now!
Wow...it has been an AWESOME week. I had been struggling with not being able to be at Hope's Vacation Bible School for some time and last week I spent time praying each day for everyone involved in Illinois, but it wasn't until I called my new church to ask about ways to volunteer that God began showing me that He can use my gifts wherever I am! I've only been at Oak Hills Church for three weeks so I wasn't sure just how I would feel about serving there. I told them I would work wherever they needed me and I ended up leading my own group of kids first through fifth grade...I loved it! Bibletime Marketplace took place each evening 5:45 to 9:15 with prayer and set-up on Monday and the concluding program the last night, so we really only had our kids on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I had 12 kids in my group, but there were over 600 kids in all. Because they have it in the evening, they have just as many men as women, so there are plenty of volunteers! The decor was unbelievable and every person there was in a Bibletime costume, even the babies! (Volunteers were sewing costumes at the church for the previous two weeks). In fact they lock the doors and don't allow anyone who isn't in costume in the building from six to nine o'clock. The rabbi was wonderful and even spoke in Hebrew during Synagogue. It made you really feel like you were living in Galilee during the time of Jesus!
Even though we've been in San Antonio less than a month, we've REALLY been missing our Illinois friends. Imagine my surprise when I found out a week ago that Marshall and Julie Newhouse were coming to Texas along with their daughter, Bethany! I was thrilled that they could stay with us for a few days before continuing on their Texas vacation. Even though I was busy preparing for VBS at my new church, we still managed to do some fun things together. Julie helped me plan my set up for my "home in Galilee"...it was nice to have her expert advise! We also went to Central Market where we met Larry for lunch one afternoon and I took them by to see my tent for "Bibletime Marketplace". Since Marshall and Julie are almost always involved in the teaching aspect of Hope's VBS, they were very interested in how Oak Hills presented theirs. We had a nice visit in spite of the rain and I'm wondering if I should go into the Bed and Breakfast business... maybe I could convince more people to visit us down here in Texas!
This has been a fabulous week, begining when my sister, Joan arrived late Wednesday night! I took time off from setting up house and we spent the last four days exploring San Antonio. In spite of the rainy days, which people tell me is very unusual for this time of year, we were able to see most of what I had hoped. We all went to dinner Thursday night down on the Riverwalk, and then Friday went to Central Market, which is owned by HEB (Larry's new company). It's a huge market that reminds me of a outdoor street fair offering all kinds of fresh prepared foods, along with a grocery store. They have people preparing delicious recipes and handing out samples. Saturday we went to several of the malls during the day and then went to church on Saturday night. Today was my birthday and the sun seemed to come out for the occasion. We started the day at "The Guenther House" restaurant for brunch and then spent the day exploring the downtown areas...it was wonderful! Then tonight we went to the best Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. It was a great birthday!!!
Sorry I haven't written much in the last couple weeks, but Larry and I have been setting up house and getting ready for company...LOTS to do. We are getting ready to remodel our Master Bath and put in new kitchen counters and a new sink. It should all be finished the third week in August if all goes well.
I just spoke with my friend Anne, who was very thankful for all the prayers. She said that Colin's tank had been hit and Colin and one other guy had to be pulled from the vehicle during the attack. She felt that God had protected him in what very well could have been a fatality. She had spoken to both Colin and his surgeon and other than some further cosmetic surgeries, he was going to be OK. She also is hoping God becomes more real to him after this horrific experience. It's ashame that it often takes something like this to make us aware that we are not in charge...God is at the control panel!
I just got home from a meeting at church for our Bibletimes Marketplace which takes place next week and there was a message about my good friend Anne Pearcy, saying her son who is a soldier in Iraq, was hit by an IED and wounded. Please pray for Colin Pearcy as he faces surgery on his shoulder, arm and knee. I'll update you when I know more.
An entire week has gone by since my last post and again most of what I have to share is about what happened today. Most of my week is spent at home still unpacking and putting the house in order. We have had people at the house to give us estimates on the changes we want to make so I spend a lot of time waiting for them to show up. We now have a contract to begin the projects, so in about two weeks I'll be up to my ears in construction as we remodel our master bathroom. By Friday, I was feeling rather lonely except for my daily outing to Curves...then came Sunday! We decided to go to the early service even though people had told us the worship was different because there was no instrumental accompaniment (due to their past affiliation with "Church of Christ"). Wow...it was probably the best service we had ever been to! The music was beautiful and SO worshipful! Then Max preached a sermon that I felt lasted about two minutes...I don't think I even blinked! His series is entitled "Coming Home" and he talked about the welcome we will one day receive when we stand before God. He had us form small groups of ten where we held hands and closed in prayer. I didn't want it to end! Then after Sunday School, we went out to lunch with the three couples that lead our class. By the time we left we felt like old friends! It's now almost eleven o'clock and we just got home from our Life Group, so today we had rich fellowship with new friends! I did get a surprise call from my sister, and she is flying in on Wednesday evening, so maybe I'll finally get out to see some of this beautiful city. I'm definately looking forward to a better week!
This week has been so stressful with all the unpacking and errands I've tried to run without knowing my way around town. I did find a Curves and the local Weight Watchers which I will begin tomorrow, but other than that I was surrounded by boxes all week, which left me feeling quite lonely and hopeless. This Sunday we decided to go back and try Oak Hills Church again (Max Lucado's church). I had loved that church but Larry had liked CBC (the one we tried last week). There were some concerns I had about CBC that it was more of a "Seeker" church and didn't have the depth I was looking for. Well, we had just walked through the door when we were invited to a Sunday School class. We agreed we would start there and then go to the service, and am I glad we did. The class was wonderful and we felt so at home there. It turned out that the teacher was a retired golf pro, who Larry recognized. He was sharing an experience he had this week with someone who asked him how to know if you're in the right church, and his answer confirmed my feelings about CBC...Larry's too! Anyway, we loved the class and met lots of people. Then we went to the service and Max came in and sat right in front of us. The worship time was awesome and we both loved the sermon. Then we went to an information session to have some of our questions answered and found out that Oak Hills is now a non-denominational church and their doctrine was in line with what we believe...we signed up for the membership class. We also asked about small groups and found out there was a "Life Group" that met in our area Sunday evenings. I called and we went tonight and loved the people and the teaching. So God has truly answered our prayers for a new family of believers!
Larry has been one busy husband! Moving is a lot of work for both of us, but in addition to going back to work this week, he has already mowed the yard, begun trimming the overgrown trees and then today worked in the garage building shelves to hold all our storage from the basement. I think our new neighbors think we're nuts. Today, one guy stopped by and asked Larry if he was in construction. I think people in this neighborhood usually hire their work out...hmmm, maybe Larry could get a side job! (Just kidding)
Saturday was the day of the actual move. The truck arrived early and God blessed us with the only dry day since we've been here. It was hot, but the movers moved incredibly fast and finished early. So far, in my unpacking, I haven't found one thing broken! Sunday morning we visited CBC (Community Bible Church). It's the one Larry's been going to and it is BIG! It's a huge, growing church with a dynamic preacher. We want to try others before we decide on one for sure. This week we plan on visiting Max Lucado's church again.
After having no computer for the last few days, I could hardly wait to see the pictures I took over the last week. These first two are of the short visit we had with Shelley at the training camp for the Royal Servants missions team. When we arrived, the kids were just going to the big tent for a time of worship and teaching. We got to see them running in teams in formation. Their praise music was great too. It was so awesome to see all of those kids who have a heart for serving God in far away countries. Shelley supposedly arrived in Scotland today, so if you think about it, keep her in your prayers. She won't return to the states until right before August when Stacey will meet her at the airport.
Three years ago we moved to San Antonio from the midwest, leaving family and friends behind. It was the start of a whole new phase in our lives. Well, it looks like God has us on the road again...this time to Dallas!